Things You Need on Board a Pontoon Boat

Before every trip out on the water, you should check (and double-check) to make sure you have the absolute necessities on board. These are the things you need on a pontoon boat that are not only required by law, but are also common sense and generally related to safety.

Additionally, there are plenty of nice-to-haves you will want on every trip.

When we say every trip, we mean every trip—especially when it comes to the needs. Whether you’re planning to spend 15 minutes or 10 hours on the lake, you absolutely must make sure you take all proper safety precautions.

For a quick guide on pontoon-boat safety, take a look at our Pontoon Boat Safety Checklist.

Pontoon Boat Necessities

Items you need to have on your pontoon boat are often things you hope never to need to use, but can keep you safe in case of an emergency. Some of these things, such as life jackets and flares, are required by law, and you definitely don’t want to (1) be caught without them when you need them or (2) face the fines and penalties if you’re caught without them by the Coast Guard.

The necessities:

  • Boat registration and proof of insurance.
  • Food and water. Pack more than enough non-perishable snacks and water for the trip.
  • Life jackets for every passenger. Age-appropriate personal flotation devices (PFDs) need to be in good condition and readily available.
  • Charged cell phone, in case you need to contact help.
  • Signal devices such as flares and distress flags.
  • Portable battery charger and flashlight.
  • First-aid kit in a waterproof case stocked with gauze, antiseptic cream, bandages, scissors, latex or vinyl gloves, cotton balls, pain relievers, and tweezers. Anti-nausea tablets are a good idea, too.

 

Things That Are Nice to Have on Board

There are plenty of items that are not necessarily essentials, but definitely nice to have on your boat, whether for safety or convenience or to be kind to the environment. These include:

  • Trash bag to prevent littering the water.
  • Extra rope.
  • Paddles, in case of engine failure.
  • Change of clothes in a waterproof bag.
  • Extra jackets or warm shirts.
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF protection.
  • Pocket knife or tool kit.
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Marine radio.

 

What Else?

Primarily, check your local laws and make sure you have everything you need. This not only ensures you’re not at risk for fines or penalties, but because the laws only require things that are absolutely essential in an emergency, you’ll also have peace of mind knowing you have what you need.

After you make sure you’re compliant, add whatever you can to make your day on the water more enjoyable. Obviously, this includes fishing poles if you’re fishing, tubes if you’re tubing, food if you’re picnicking, etc.

Because pontoon boats are so versatile, you can do just about anything you want on the water. For the best experience, make sure you and your passengers have everything you need under any circumstances.

Do Pontoon Boats Hold Their Value?

With any big purchase, buyers want to know they’re making a good investment. A “good investment” can mean a lot of things, though. To some, a good investment is money well spent, which could be as simple as paying $10 to see a great movie. To others, a good investment requires an appreciation of assets. Buy low, sell high.

When it comes to vehicles, both on land and on water, it’s generally accepted that the monetary value will depreciate shortly after purchase, and thus, a good investment requires getting a quality, reliable vehicle you can enjoy for years.

That perfectly describes a pontoon boat investment. You probably won’t be able to sell one for more than you paid for it, but you will get your money’s worth.

Manitou Aurora Angler VP Pontoon Boat

How Much Do Pontoon Boats Cost?

New pontoon boats can cost as little as around $15,000, and as much as $200,000+, depending on your accessories, amenities, engine, and anything else you may want to add. For a more in-depth breakdown of what you can expect to pay, read our post: All About Pontoon Boats.

How Much Does a Pontoon Boat Depreciate in Value?

It’s pretty well known that cars depreciate rapidly. As soon as you drive them off the lot, they’ve lost some monetary value. The same is true of pontoon boats; the value of your boat will depreciate a fair amount in the first couple years of ownership. After that, the value will depreciate by much less, eventually holding stable after about 12 years.

More good news: You’re not buying a pontoon boat for the same reason you’re buying a car. You’re buying it for the activities, memories, and fun, which can’t be assigned a fixed dollar value—you determine how much those things are worth.

What Contributes to a Pontoon Boat’s Resale Value?

Again, a pontoon boat’s trade-in value is similar to that of a car. The brand, age, amount of use, condition, and any number of add-ons or other amenities can contribute to the resale value.

In general, most pontoon boats depreciate at a similar rate, though, so a boat that costs $40,000 new will sell for a higher price used than a boat that originally cost $20,000.

For specifics, you can explore the boat pricing resources on NADAguides and other similar websites. Feel free to contact your local Manitou pontoon boat dealer, who can also help determine your pontoon’s resale value.

Should I Buy a Used Pontoon Boat?

When in the market for a pontoon boat, it’s definitely worth contemplating buying used, but you’ll need to ensure you’re getting a quality vehicle. Take a look at our Buying a Used Pontoon Checklist for some of the crucial areas you’ll want to consider.

Return on Investment

If you’re in it strictly to make money, buying a pontoon boat doesn’t make sense. You won’t be able to sell it for more than you buy it, but that’s pretty well understood by anyone who buys a vehicle of any kind.

Instead, the return of investment comes in all the fun, hours of entertainment, and memories you’ll enjoy with your boat. While your boat won’t appreciate in value, you can unquestionably get your value out of it, thereby giving you what many would consider the best kind of return on investment.

 

How Shallow Can a Pontoon Boat Go?

No one operating a watercraft of any size wants to get stuck, whether the vessel is as small as a personal watercraft or as massive as a cruise ship. Getting stuck can not only be harmful to your boat, but depending on the circumstances, can be extremely dangerous as well.

Thus, it’s important never to drive your pontoon boat into water that’s too shallow. Still, there are reasons you might want to get into shallow water, so it’s best to do so safely.

In general, you can probably take your pontoon boat into water as shallow as two feet of real depth, but this, of course, depends on several factors.

What is Real Depth?

Real depth is exactly as it sounds: The actual depth from the surface of the water to the floor of the lake or pond. Because of the way light refracts at the surface of the water, you can’t judge real depth simply by looking down (the perceived depth is called “apparent depth,”), so you must ensure a true measurement of real depth.

If your boat is equipped with a depth gauge, the water depth is likely read from the rear of the boat, so take that into account as you start approaching shallower depths.

Also, you should take special care to make sure the depth is consistent throughout the path you want to travel. If debris, seaweed, sandbars, or anything else get in the way, you lose your depth and risk getting stuck.

If you are unfamiliar with the waters, discuss potential hazards with other boaters who are accustomed to the area. Then proceed with caution.

Manitou Oasis Angler pontoon in shallow water

Reasons to Take Your Pontoon Boat into Shallow Water

For some, maybe shallow water will never be a concern, as most of the activities you enjoy take place in deep water. Still, it’s likely you’ll be docking your boat in shallow water, or using a boat launch to get in and out. So, it’s important to know your depths wherever you go.

For those who enjoy fishing, you may find it advantageous to get into shallow water for your catch of the day. Likewise, if you want to spend some time on the beach during your voyage, it makes sense to anchor close to the beach, where the water is shallower, than to anchor way out and try to swim a ridiculous distance in (and then back out). We will add a line about beaching a pontoon here and link a related post when it is written.

Precautions to Take in Shallow Water

When we mentioned two feet of real depth earlier, we were speaking in generalities, as we noted. Three feet is better, and four is better still, but as you get to know your boat and your habits, you’ll be able to find your confidence level.

Consider How Much Weight You Have on Board.

If two people had an easy time gliding through two feet of water, that doesn’t mean a full boat of 10 or 11 people will have the same carefree ride. Always take into account the weight of the people and objects on your boat before entering shallow water.

Consider Your Hull’s Draft.

With a hull that sits deeper in the water, you will need more leeway with the real depth of the water. Note that the hulls of triple hull pontoons in particular often sit lower; for example, the center tube on our V-Toon models is 5.25” lower than the outer tubes.

When you move into shallow water, make sure to trim up the engine, but don’t go all the way up (if you get stuck with the engine tilted as far as possible, you’re stuck for good). Try trimming up far enough that the propeller gulps for air, and then lower it a minimum of two inches. Check that the outboard is still spitting water out of the valve to ensure the engine does not overheat.

Finally, make sure your path doesn’t have any obstructions. Seeing underwater is difficult even when crystal clear, so be especially careful in darker waters.

Read Your Pontoon Boat Owner’s Manual.

The manufacturers specifically design their boats for your pleasure, and they want you to enjoy them as much as possible. Heed their recommendations, and if you have any questions at all about the capabilities of your pontoon boat or your future boat, feel free to contact your local dealer as well.

BRP AGREES TO ACQUIRE TRITON INDUSTRIES, INC., STRENGTHENING THE COMPANY’S NEW MARINE GROUP

Valcourt, Quebec, August 2, 2018BRP (TSX:DOO) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Triton Industries, Inc., the leading North American manufacturer of the Manitou pontoon brand.

An established and growing brand based in Lansing, MI, the family-owned Manitou business is best known for innovative patent-protected technology across its entire lineup, with a brand that is associated with premium luxury and performance. Manitou is considered a pioneer in the evolution of the pontoon thanks to its patented V-TOON® technology, an industry game-changer for planing, performance, and efficiency. Manitou employs approximately 160 people and has a network of around 150 dealers across Canada and the US.

“The announcement of the acquisition of Manitou is the logical next step in the roll-out of our global marine strategy,” said José Boisjoli, BRP President and CEO. “We are thrilled to welcome a company with such potential and its entire team to the BRP family. Together, we will strive to transform the industry and become a leading marine company.”

As the second boat acquisition complementing the outboard engine portfolio, Manitou’s addition to the Marine Group further solidifies BRP’s position in this market. The addition of Manitou will enable the company to, over time, continue to transform the customer experience, drive opportunities for dealers, provide overall efficiencies to the new BRP Marine Group and bring innovation to the marine industry.

“Manitou’s strong brand, high quality pontoons and recognized technology made it a natural fit for BRP’s newly formed Marine Group,” said Tracy Crocker, President of the Marine Group. “With the acquisition of Manitou, we are strengthening our marine portfolio by entering the fastest growing segment in the boat industry.”

The transaction remains subject to certain customary closing conditions and is expected to be
completed in the third quarter of BRP’s fiscal year 2019.

For additional information on Manitou, visit manitoupontoonboats.com

About BRP

We are a global leader in the world of powersports vehicles and propulsion systems built on over 75 years of ingenuity and intensive consumer focus. Our portfolio of industry-leading and distinctive products includes Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles, Sea-Doo watercraft, Can-Am on- and off-road vehicles, Alumacraft boats, Evinrude and Rotax marine propulsion systems as well as Rotax engines for karts, motorcycles and recreational aircraft. We support our lines of product with a dedicated parts, accessories and clothing business to fully enhance your riding experience. With annual sales of CA$4.5 billion from over 100 countries, our global workforce is made up of around 10,000 driven, resourceful people.

www.brp.com

@BRPNews

Ski-Doo, Lynx, Sea-Doo, Evinrude, Rotax, Can-Am, Alumacraft, and the BRP logo are trademarks of Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. or its affiliates. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

CAUTION CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Certain statements included in this release, including, but not limited to, statements relating to the Marine Group of BRP, completion of the acquisition of Triton Industries, Inc. and other statements that are not historical facts, may be “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Canadian securities laws. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by the use of terminology such as “may”, “will”, “would”, “could”, “expects”, “plans”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “believes” or the negative or other variations of these words or other comparable words or phrases. Forward-looking statements, by their nature, are based on assumptions, and are subject to important risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements cannot be relied upon due to, amongst other things, changing external events and general uncertainties of the business. Actual results may differ materially from results indicated in forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including those identified in BRP’s annual information form and management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations. The forward-looking statements contained in this release represent BRP’s expectations as of the date of this release (or as of the date they are otherwise stated to be made), and are subject to change after such date. However, BRP disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under applicable securities regulations.

-30-

For information:

Catherine Moreau

Senior Advisor, Media Relations

Tel: +1.514.231.2118

catherine.moreau@brp.com

Pontoon Boat Layout Ideas

Pontoon boats wouldn’t be called the most versatile watercraft in the world if they weren’t customizable, right? Of course not. Especially with the advancements in manufacturing we enjoy today, you can customize your pontoon boat design to fit exactly what you like to do—whether it’s cruising and lounging, fishing, socializing, skiing and tubing, or anything else you can do on the water.

A Layout for Every Activity

When designing the layout of your pontoon boat, it’s important to determine how you plan to use your boat. While you can use it for everything listed above, you probably don’t need to incorporate any fishing seats or accessories if you don’t ever plan to fish, for example.

Whether you plan to design a boat for a single activity or create a layout that is optimized for several activities, you’ll be able to do it. Seating layouts that face each other (or don’t), create an open common area (or don’t), put you in prime position to catch fish (or don’t) will not only make your pontoon boat exactly how you envision it, but will also enhance your enjoyment on the water.

Consider the Length of the Boat and Deck

Pontoon boat floor plans must, obviously, fit within the size of your deck. As such, how you maximize your space depends crucially on your deck size. Most of our pontoon boats are available in 23-, 25-, and 27-foot lengths, allowing you to decide how much space you need for seating, storage, and open areas.

For reference, take a look at how a floor plan can vary between 23 and 27 feet on our 2018 Legacy LT SHP:

Manitou Legacy LT Pontoon Boat Layout Comparisons

Types of Seating and Furniture

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you realize how many options there are, but it’s also easy to narrow your choices if you know how you’re going to use your boat. Choose from chairs, benches, lounge seats, fishing seats, seats with storage, seats that convert to tables, bars, stools, a sundeck, and more.

Fishing seats are essential for anglers, but probably take up too much space if you don’t fish. To build a comfortable floating living room, vary your benches and chairs to create ideal social settings. A sundeck is a popular option for almost any pontoon enthusiast, and you’ll probably want to leave a little extra room if you’re predominantly using your boat for water sports.

To see how a similar space can be used for different purposes, compare the Aurora, an ideal versatile model for new pontoon boaters, in 20 and 22 feet, with the Aurora Angler LE, in the same lengths, built specifically for fishing.

Manitou Aurora Pontoon Boat Layout Comparisons

A Luxurious Ride

Are you looking for the ultimate in pontoon luxury? Seats that convert into sun lounges, elegant fiberglass touches, and a built-in swim platform can put you on the water in superior style.

Take a look at some of the floor plans for our Legacy models to see how you can lay out your luxury pontoon:

Manitou Legacy Luxury Pontoon Boat Layouts

Build the Boat You Want to Use

With so many options, buyers can get caught up in wanting a little bit of everything. That’s natural, and adding certain elements that enhance your many activities is a good idea, but your absolute best option is to design the boat you will want to use over and over. You need to focus on the features you will use most often, and design your floor plan to accommodate your boating lifestyle. When you do that, you will have dramatically enriched your summers for years to come.

Buying Your First Pontoon Boat

Searching for your first pontoon boat doesn’t have to be overwhelming, even if it may seem like it at first. You know pontoon boats are the most versatile craft on the water, so whatever you get will be able to accommodate your specific desires. Still, you can hone in further to make sure you get the ideal boat for what you like to do, while maintaining the versatility that will allow you to enjoy other activities, as well.

Call it a “starter boat” if you want, but with all the possibilities available, you’ll consider yourself a boating veteran in no time.

Tips for first-time pontoon buyers, featuring Manitou's Aurora models—great options for a first pontoon boat.

What Do You Want to Do with Your Pontoon Boat?

If you plan to use your boat for skiing, tubing, and other water sports, you need to look into a model with a powerful engine and easy access in and out of the water.

Prefer lounging, entertaining, or fishing? If so, you can focus less on the boat’s power and more on its deck space, seating capacity and configuration, and specialty fishing accessories like a live well, fish locator, and fishing chairs.

Again, because pontoon boats are incredibly versatile, you won’t be sacrificing one activity in order to get another. Instead, think of it as maximizing the activities you will do most often.

For more of the basics to consider, check out Four Questions to Ask Before You Buy.

First Pontoon Boats: Get a Lot for a Little

One of the best features of pontoon boats—at all price levels—is how much you get relative to the cost. The value of a pontoon boat is unbeatable.

When looking for a starter boat, there are three Manitou models we recommend you look at right away, to get Manitou’s industry-leading performance at an affordable price:

Aurora

Known as the most accessible pontoon boat on the water, the 2018 Aurora has all the craftsmanship and performance you expect from Manitou, but at the most attractive price in the line.

Manitou 20 Aurora RF pontoon boat

Aurora LE

The most customizable Manitou line, Aurora LE, lets you choose exactly what you want while getting unmatchable performance at this price point.

Manitou 25 Aurora LE RF VP pontoon boat

Aurora Angler LE

Built for the fisherman, the Aurora Angler LE is extremely customizable and adaptable to all pontoon activities. This model gives you the fishing chairs and accessories you need to spend the day angling on the water.

Manitou 20 Aurora Angler VP pontoon boat

Find Your Pontoon Model 

Pontoon boats are versatile, accessible, and affordable. If you’re looking for your first pontoon boat, the Aurora models will give you value you can’t find anywhere else.

For more information on our Auroras and all the other Manitou pontoon boats, take a look at our buying guide, and get connected with a Manitou dealer near you.

 

How Do Lifting Strakes Work?

When you want your pontoon boat to go faster, or ride smoother in rough waters, you would benefit from having lifting strakes. But what are lifting strakes? What do they do? And do you have them already?

Chances are, if you’ve purchased a 3 tube pontoon boat in the last several years (and certainly if you bought it from us), lifting strakes were already installed and are doing their job.

Lifting strake on a Manitou 25 Legacy LT SHP
Example of a lifting strake on a Manitou 25 Legacy LT SHP

The Basics

As pontoon boats continue to get more versatile, allowing for owners to leisurely float, casually cruise, or play water sports like skiing and tubing at high speeds, outboard motors are getting bigger.

With bigger outboards, the pontoons need some help generating lift. Without lift, the boat would be limited to floating and slow cruising. That’s where lifting strakes come in. The strakes, welded directly onto the pontoons, produce lift at the bow by displacing water, allowing the boat to, in essence, glide above the water rather than lumber through it.

Many lifting strakes use negative angles, which can generate lift, but can hurt the quality of the ride due to increased slamming loads.

Manitou’s lifting strakes work to not only create lift, but also to make the ride smoother.

Lifting Strakes on Manitou's V-Toon Design

Manitou V-Toon Lifting Strake Design

Instead of using negative-angle strakes, we designed strakes that work in concert with our V-Toon technology to give boaters the speed—and the smooth ride—they want. The key is creating and maintaining balance.

Because our V-Toon tritoon boats are the most agile and predictable at high speeds on the water, we attached strakes to the inside and outside of all three pontoons of our SHP (sports handling package) hulls, enhancing the agility and predictability to keep you moving exactly as you want, whether you’re skiing, cruising, or anchoring.

Benefits of Lifting Strakes

When your strakes are installed properly and working effectively, you get several tangible benefits:

  • More speed. When you’re above the water rather than trying to plow through it, you can generate significantly more speed.
  • Smoother ride. Especially with V-Toon technology, the balance and lift you get from the strakes keep your ride smooth.
  • Better fuel efficiency. Simple: when it’s easier for your boat to move, it requires less fuel to do so.

Lifting strakes can be retrofitted to your pontoons, but as mentioned earlier, most new models will come equipped with them. If you decide to add them to your current model, you’ll of course want to make sure they are expertly positioned and that the welding is top-notch to get the true benefits of the modification.

Are you in the market for a new (or new to you) pontoon? Strakes are a feature you’ll want for an optimal experience on the water.

If you’re curious about other features of our pontoon and tritoon boats, check out our current Buying Guide, or learn more about our patented V-Toon technology.

Pontoon Boat Safety

Boating Safety TipsDid you know that May 19-25, 2018, is National Safe Boating Week? We take safety very seriously here at Manitou, and we wanted to share some statistics and tips to to promote pontoon boat safety—not just this week, but throughout the year.

In 2016, there were over 4400 recreational boating accidents, which resulted in 701 deaths, along with an estimated $49 million in damages. Of these accidents, 120 injuries and 47 deaths were reported to happen upon a pontoon boat. Don’t become a statistic—make safety your top priority to ensure a fun, secure trip for everyone!

Top Reasons for Boating Accidents

According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s most recent Recreational Boating Statistics Report, the major contributing factors to boating accident fatalities in 2016 were all related to operation of the vessel. The top 5 contributing factors for fatal accidents were:

  1. Alcohol Use: 282 Accidents, 87 Deaths
  2. Operator Inexperience: 480 Accidents, 62 Deaths
  3. Operator Inattention: 597 Accidents, 45 Deaths
  4. Excessive Speeds: 360 Accidents, 39 Deaths
  5. Improper Lookout: 475 Accidents, 20 Deaths

Machinery failure was also the #3 contributing factor to all reported accidents, resulting in 323 accidents and 9 deaths.

Boating accidents don’t need to be fatal to be devastating, as accidents can also cause significant injury and property loss. Do your part to ensure safety on the water, whether you’re the captain or a passenger.

Pontoon Boat Safety Tips

  1. Always have enough age-appropriate life jackets on board for every person in your party. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye, meaning life jackets are better worn than stowed when out on the water. As drownings can occur even when life jackets are worn, make sure to regularly inspect the condition of your life jackets.
  2. Know your pontoon boat’s capacity so you don’t overload your vessel and risk sinking.
  3. Create a float plan for each trip—or at the very least, tell someone where you are heading and when you plan to return.
  4. Make sure your passengers are seated and wearing proper safety gear before taking off.
  5. Be an attentive and informed operator in all circumstances. If it’s been a while since your last boater safety course, consider brushing up on what you need to know. When using your pontoon for water sports, designate another passenger as your extra set of eyes on the water.
  6. Don’t drink and boat; just like on the roadways, driving under the influence on the water is illegal.
  7. Use an anchor when you want your boat to remain stationary.
  8. Keep an eye out for weather changes. Knowing how to manage your vessel in heavy winds or other intense circumstances is always a smart choice.
  9. Stay up-to-date with routine maintenance on your boat.

 

Boat Safety Checklist

Avoid accidents and injuries by keeping a safety checklist, including all of the equipment you need in the case of an emergency. Ensure your pontoon has a fire extinguisher, ring buoy, and first aid kit so that you are prepared. In addition, perform routine maintenance on your pontoon so that the engine, navigation lights, and other systems run smoothly. Before taking out your boat, consider putting together a safety kit that includes items like a pocket knife, radio, battery charger, and extra food and drink.

Download and print our Boat Safety Checklist and to keep as a reminder throughout the season:

Boat Safety Tips

[Click for a larger version in a new window]

The statistics in this article were gathered from the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2016 Recreational Boating Statistics Report. Find more information on National Safe Boating Week at safeboatingcampaign.com.

How to Improve Pontoon Boat Performance

Manitou 27 X-Plode SRW Dual Engine
Manitou 27 X-Plode SRW Dual Engine

The power and performance of pontoon boats is becoming less of a secret and more of an expected feature for potential buyers. Nobody wants to give up the social aspect of the floating living room, but as engines get bigger and designs get sleeker (particularly with our V-Toon technology), pontoons—already the most versatile vessels on the water—are even more versatile. 

Add More Speed

The maximum speed of your pontoon boat is affected by several factors, mainly the size of the engine, the number of tubes beneath the deck, and the amount of weight the boat is carrying.

[Related reading: How Fast is a Pontoon Boat?]

If you’re looking for a faster pontoon boat, the easiest way is to lighten the load. That is, fewer people, fewer coolers, less furniture, etc. One of the best aspects of a pontoon boat is its versatility. While socializing with large groups of friends and family is a great way to spend time, you can also grab just a few friends, some tubes, some skis, and spend the day on the water with speed.

Increasing the power of your engine will also add speed to your boat. Most performance pontoon boats come with engines that provide plenty of power for speeds of 18-30 MPH, which is enough for tubing and skiing, but if you have a less powerful engine and are ready to speed things up, you can look into adding more horsepower.

Increase Performance with V-Toon Technology

Our V-Toon technology is designed to act like a v-hull boat. With a center tube sitting lower in the water, the tritoon design can lift and plane like a fiberglass boat while maintaining the stability of a pontoon boat.

Pontoon boats with V-Toon hulls give you quicker acceleration and higher overall speeds.

Enhance Performance

Reduce drag from splashing water by adding underskinning, and reduce wind resistance by lowering the bimini cover. By making sure your pontoons are clean below the water line, you increase the smoothness of the boat’s movement through the water, with the end result being a faster pontoon.

By keeping up with necessary maintenance and adapting your boat to the needs of the day, you can maximize its performance to the exact purpose of that day. Slowly cruising with friends is just as accessible as waterskiing. It’s completely up to you.

[Check out our performance pontoon boats for the best of both worlds!]

What to Know About Using Ethanol Gas in Your Boat or Outboard Motor

One of the most confusing topics in all of boating, pontoon or otherwise, deals with gasoline—particularly ethanol. Can you use it? If so, what percentage of it is okay to use in your boat engine? We’ll try to alleviate the confusion by breaking down the essential points.

What is Ethanol?

Ethanol is added to fuel to diminish pollution. Acting as an oxygenate, ethanol—which is essentially 200-proof grain alcohol—reduces hydrocarbon emissions. We should note that ethanol used for fuel is not safe to drink.

The most common ethanol-blended fuel is E10, which means the fuel is made of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline. E15 (15% ethanol and 85% gas) has been the source of much debate in Washington, D.C. lately, with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) lobbying hard against the sale of E15.

Is ethanol gas bad for boat motors?

Is Ethanol Gas Bad for Boat Motors?

This is where it gets confusing. E15 is not good for boats. Do not put E15 into your boat’s motor. Using E15 in your boat’s motor can cause unfixable damage. You could find yourself with complete engine failure and all the safety risks that come with using a fuel incompatible with your boat’s engine.

However, E10 is good and compatible with all marine engines built in the last 10 years or so. Because a fuel’s ethanol content is not always obvious at the pump, it’s important to make absolutely certain you’re using E10 before filling the tank. This confusion, and the potentially damaging effects of putting the wrong amount of ethanol in your boat, is just one of the reasons the NMMA is so adamantly opposed to the sale of E15.

If E15 is So Bad, Why the Controversy?

The fight is over whether to allow the year-round sale of E15. Because there is more ethanol and less gasoline than in E10, E15 is better for the environment, and proponents also say selling E15 all year would lower prices. Further, a demand for a more environmentally-friendly fuel might help the industry work to produce even better fuels.

Currently, E15 cannot be sold all year largely because it can’t be produced all year. Its fuel volatility in the summer months is too high, leaving too great a risk to produce it.

The NMMA’s worry is that year-round sales of E15 will add further confusion to the issue and potentially lead to accidental and unnecessary destruction of recreational boaters’ vessels. When boaters fill their tanks, they don’t always thoroughly check to make sure their fuel is E10, and one mistake can lead to complete engine failure.

As the NMMA continues to lobby for recreational boaters and the industry, it’s important to know how to keep your own boat safe when fueling.

Fueling Tips:

  • Given a choice between E10 and E15, always use E10. However, certain engines may require other fuels, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual first.
  • Make absolutely certain you’re filling your tank with E10. Check at the pump. It’s easy to make a mistake, as some gas stations will have E10, E15, or even another type of fuel, so double (or triple) check before fueling.